CFR participants from the Stettler area was on a winning streak as the Cassidy brothers of Donalda and Josh Harden of Big Valley displayed stellar performances at the CFR 2015, held in Edmonton last week, Nov. 11-15.
According to the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association (CPRA), it was Canadian championship number four for Cody Cassidy from Donalda.
Cassidy posted a 4.2 second time to win his fourth title in the final round and that, coupled with his fourth place in the aggregate, meant the second generation cowboy had equalled his dad Greg Cassidy’s buckle total.
Speaking of his win Cody said, “That was definitely a goal. Now I guess I’d like to shoot for five. That’s how many Lee Graves won and he’s probably the best Canadian steer wrestler ever.”
“And then maybe I’ll try for six or seven,” added Cassidy. “My dad went on until he was 47 and I don’t see any reason why I can’t do the same thing.”
It was a winning week for the Cassidy family as brother Curtis also claimed his ninth High Point title.
Josh Harden of Big Valley added to the Stettler area wins as he became the second member of the Harden family to win the All-Around title, after his brother Jeremy Harden who achieved the feat back in 2005.
Speaking of his win, Harden said “It was a huge accomplishment to win it and it was definitely one of my main goals.”
“I had hoped to qualify in both events and came close to that goal, but this has been my best year yet,” added Harden.
Like any kid, Harden started off in high school rodeo roping and bulldogging.
“I’ve rode and trained horses all my life, and I started steer wrestling when I was around 12 years old at a neighbours’ place up the road, which was actually the home of Jeff Resch, one of the pick up men at CFR,” said Harden. “It wasn’t until my last year of high school rodeo that I started getting on broncs, from there I went to the novice bronc riding in the CPRA, and started entering the steer wrestling as well.”
Harden believes it is the excitement associated with the sport that made him passionate about it.
“It is definitely the excitement involved with the sport, that it is never boring,” said Harden. “One is always going to new places, it’s an adrenaline-packed sport.”
Harden’s family has played a pivotal role in his love for the sport.
“My family has always encouraged me and supported my love for this sport,” said Harden. “My mom and dad always ranches and we always had horses but the inspiration to rodeo came from my older brother Jeremy, who has taught me a lot.”
Speaking of his best bronc ride this year, Harden said, “My best was at Strathmore when I rode Lynx Mountain for 85 points, but for steer wrestling my best time was 3.4, which happened the winter I rodeoed in Australia.”
According to Harden, the highlight for the year for both events was Strathmore where he qualified to the short go round in both events.
“I would like to say a special thanks to my family for their love and support all year long and for travelling to CFR to watch me compete,” added Harden. “…and to all the friends and neighbours that rooted for me along the way.”